Our collective brains are filled with images of old women; just think of the wicked stepmother in Cinderella, or the frightening old woman in Hansel and Gretel. Aside from being scary they are old, toothless and ugly, and our dislike of them is deeply rooted in all of us. This is the power of myth, or collective unconscious, or the storybook, or whatever you want to call it. So when we see thin lips on a woman we can’t help but associate those thin lips with the toothless old women fixed deep in our brains. A mouth with thin, collapsed lips equals “old” to us. We can’t help thinking that, we do it unconsciously, its part of our culture and our myths. A full mouth with plump lips equals “young” to us; imagine a child’s face. Once again, this is part of our culture. It probably stems from the time before dentistry was practiced. During those many centuries as you aged your teeth fell out; when you lost your teeth your mouth collapsed inward, and your lips thinned. Thus old age equals thin lips.
When women come to my office and ask how they can look younger I check their lips, because fullness in that area is such an important signal. However, overdoing fullness is almost as bad; it can make you look silly instead of beautiful. But a subtle increase in lip volume using a filler like Juvéderm that looks natural, can remove ten years from your age. It doesn’t do this by the usual methods you might expect like erasing lines or lifting skin. It takes away those years by altering the expectations of the people who are looking at you. Everyone has the Cinderella myth in their heads. It’s important to keep this in mind when you are having cosmetic things done to your face. The people who look at you don’t have magnifying mirrors, they have myths. They actually look at you only very briefly, and then make up the rest of your picture in their minds. They make up that picture based on the stories they have in our collective unconscious, the storybook buried deep in all our brains. If you can give the people who look at you a few really significant clues, the picture they make in their minds will be a young Cinderella, not a wicked old Stepmother.
If you’d like to have me evaluate YOUR lips, give me a call at my office and come in to see me.